January 21, 2008

After : Read Me Last

I am what some people may refer to as a person who doesn't travel well. I am basically uncomfortable sitting in any moving vehicle (plane, train, automobile, or boat) that I am not driving and to spare friends and coworkers from a seizure of panic mixed with anxiety I heavily rely on pills to keep me well grounded during extended trips. In turn this parade of pills every 6 to 8 hours can lead to a very fuzzy me by the end of the day and after several days of this pattern the activities that fill the space between sunrise and sunset become a blur.

Post two days of record shopping after work (Amoeba and Freak Beat) I had a chance to catch up with old friends who as you could probably guess are tied into the wonderful world of music because, well, I don't have much of a life outside of the bubble of music. These aren't bragging rights, this is just the sad truth and to be fair besides the joy of seeing old and familiar faces, seeing people as equally married to music as I pathetically am, is a relief.

One friend is tied to Amoeba and also works as an animal handler on movie sets but for this story's purpose the most stunning aspect to her this trip was her Iron Maiden Vans. Needless to say I have purchased them since and I can't believe I didn't know about these shoes sooner.

My second friend is my oldest friend by via the years we have known each other, not age, and she works at Southern Lord- the king of all Doom and gloom record labels. Besides the Burning Witch long sleeve shirt and an abundance of new releases I have yet to listen to, the most brilliant thing about her is her ability to remain a non conformist as we count down our thirties. Where I feel a little out of the norm wearing a Paul Revere and the Raiders cape jacket and 60's mod red rain boots while waiting for her in the hotel lobby, in she walks with a hand painted hoodie that features branches and a trunk of a tree. I see something on each shoulder and as she moves towards me I realize she has a birds nest with tiny squirming yellow fake birds on her right side and a bird house with a small bird popping out (I think) on her left side. You would think at this point I would be asking "WHAT THE HELL????" while dragging her to my hotel room to change but this is a friend I have grown to love and I have learned to expect to see her in costumes rather than something you or I might consider evening wear. I tried to not make serious eye contact with her shoulders and opted to make direct eye contact while sipping on my whiskey. ( I should mention here she is also straight edge so bar time with her is ironic and vaguely pointless) My theory has always been if I behave like her outfit isn't absurd, then perhaps others around us will do the same. For the most part it usually works and rather than get embarrassed all I can do is ask if that is a real birds nest (it is) and what sort of battery pack she is wired up to. What can I say, I love the girl... moving electonic parts and all.

I don't really know what other girls gossip about but we spent the evening swapping tales about Sunno)) members knocking each other out, how to handle a primate on set, and the terrifying community of people (ex cons and society outcasts) who have decided to call the California deserts their home. We didn't spend much time talking about the records we have been listening to lately or the shows we had recently attended. I think for all of us a music time out is a nice and much needed change of pace.

Seeing Cornelius and Plaid perform live wasn't the highlight of my last night in Los Angeles, it was the venue the show took place in. This event was the final show of a two week festival called Concrete Frequency and it took place at Frank Gehry's magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall. Neither artist featured that evening are a personal favorite of mine. Plaid = two dudes behinds laptops and mixers with Ninja Tune like graphics circa 2002 behind them and Cornelius = extravagant light show and big screen images to disguise otherwise repetitive quaint but sometimes noisy electronic tainted rock/pop songs. They seriously love chimes and funky bass lines. Trust me when I say that combination grows stale relatively quickly. I want to say the high point of the show was "Star Fruit Surf Rider" but it was in fact the architecture of the hall itself that kept me wide eyed and inspired. I can hardly call it a venue, it is a work of art you get to sit in the middle of. I have been known to get weepy with the right song but I felt choked up by a piece of architecture that was more alive than the people playing on the stage below.

So there it is, my trip to L.A. highlighted in my version of a yellow marker. There will be later posts about the records I mailed home. If there is one lesson I can share with you from past experiences: luggage + records = bad idea.

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